Addiction professionals say there are several underlying reasons why persons who are addicted or dependent upon alcohol and/or drugs don’t seek treatment. These could include any, some, or all of the following 6 reasons:
• Denial – The most common and initial reaction is that the addict refuses to accept that he or she has a problem with alcohol, drugs, or both. The person may be so entrenched in the drug habit that they deny its existence despite the facts.
• Control – Male addicts, in particular, may find it difficult to admit there’s a need for treatment due to issues of control. They need to feel in control of their own destiny and often are manipulative and controlling in their relationships with others. For an addict with control issues, seeking treatment is far down on the list. They’d likely say they didn’t have a problem or that they have everything under control.
• Fear – It takes a lot of determination, motivation and courage to enter treatment. Many addicts are deterred by fear. They are afraid of the entire detoxification and withdrawal process, whether out of ignorance, past attempts on their own, or perceived dangers. They may be apprehensive about what the treatment program entails and not feel able to handle it.
• Cut Off From Supply – Many addicts won’t enter treatment because they won’t have access to their supply of drugs or alcohol. Since drug and/or alcohol treatment programs require sobriety, and many are residential and/or do urine tests, addicts know there’s no chance they can get high without getting caught.
• Can’t Give Up High – For many addicts, the biggest reason they don’t go for treatment is that they can’t give up the high. They’re so wrapped up in how good they feel, so addicted to the high, that they can’t envision living without it. Despite harm to physical and mental health, and serious consequences to family, relationships and career, addicts cling to what’s known: the comfort of their addiction.
• Treatment Won’t Help – Some addicts feel they are beyond help. No treatment can possibly make a difference in their lives after years of being addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. Those with co-occurring mental health issues can feel particularly hopeless.